SAN JOSE -- The Earthquakes are down a key player again after Major League Soccer's disciplinary committee suspended Marvin Chavez on Friday for two games.
The suspension of Chavez for elbowing Toronto FC's Logan Emory in the head during Wednesday's game leaves a hole in the midfield, where Chavez has been a force since returning last month from a knee injury.
Chavez's absence could lead to another appearance by newcomer Walter Martinez when the Quakes face the Seattle Sounders at 1 p.m. Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
Martinez, 31, has had an impressive debut for San Jose, with two assists in his first two appearances.
"It took him awhile to get going and get himself tuned to how we do it here, but now I think he's a full-on, full-fledged Earthquake," coach Frank Yallop said after a 2-1 victory over Toronto.
The game-winner came in the 81st minute when Martinez headed a ball off a corner kick toward the goalmouth, where Chris Wondolowski pushed it into the net with his thigh. The Honduran World Cup veteran also set up a late, game-tying goal against Montreal last weekend.
"I want to take on defenders, attack them," Martinez said through an interpreter. "Defenders feel uncomfortable when you do that to them, so hopefully that helps the team."
The 5-foot-6 attacking midfielder is expected to appear for the third consecutive time Saturday, particularly after Chavez's boneheaded action in the 58th minute. Chavez's suspension comes just as strikers Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart completed multiple-game bans this week. The MLS Players Union announced Chavez will appeal the second game suspension.
But at least San Jose (3-3-5) has backup. The Earthquakes were not sure what they would get when signing Martinez in March. He played in China for the past three years and a season in Spain before that.
"The coaches did a great job of keeping me in shape, and I was more than comfortable to play every minute," he told reporters Wednesday. "I've been eager to play with this unit."
He has benefited from the camaraderie of fellow Honduran internationals Victor Bernardez and Chavez. The trio come from the same city in Honduras.
"I played in China and Spain and didn't have any other people from Honduras there," Martinez said. "Now I not only have two ... but two from my same city, and Marvin is from my same neighborhood."
Seattle (2-3-3) has its own Honduran -- Mario Martinez, a current member of the national team who is rounding into shape. The Sounders scored in extra time for a 1-0 victory at Kansas City on Wednesday night to extend their unbeaten streak to four games.
Both teams are scraping for points to stay in playoff contention in the Western Conference.
Chavez isn't the only one out for San Jose. Lenhart won't play Saturday because of a heel injury, and rookie Adam Jahn, who scored his fourth goal Wednesday night, is nursing a thigh bruise.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.